Ricardo van der Ende and Max Koebolt claimed their first victory of the GT4 European Series Northern Cup season at the Red Bull Ring this afternoon. The Ekris Motorsport Ekris M4 GT4 took the lead during the second part of the race and went on to win overall, while also taking the first ever Silver Cup victory in the series. Luc Braams and Duncan Huisman won the Pro-AM class, while Achim Mörtl claimed a debut victory in AM.
Two incidents on the opening lap resulted in an early safety car period. The #88 HP Racing Porsche Cayman CS MR GT4, the #75 Autorlando Sport Porsche 911 GT4 and the #111 RN Vision STS Porsche Cayman CS MR GT4 collided at turn 1, followed by an accident involving the #10 Equipe Verschuur McLaren 570S GT4 and the #23 Sean Walkinshaw Racing Nissan 370Z GT4. Four of the five cars retired with accident damage, with the McLaren suffering severe damage.
At the restart Duncan Huisman kept Ricardo van der Ende and Andy Meyrick behind, but the Bullitt Racing driver was quicker than the two Dutch drivers in front of him and soon overtook both. Behind the overall top three, Alessandro Giovanelli and Achim Mörtl battled for the AM class lead and fourth overall. Unfortunately Giovanelli was not able to keep up the fight and he was forced to park the Autorlando Sport Porsche in the pits with an engine failure.
When all teams had completed their mandatory pit stop during the pit window, Bullitt Racing’s Stephen Pattrick was back in the lead, followed by Max Koebolt in the #8 Ekris Motorsport Ekris M4 GT4. Pattrick’s team had made a mistake though and the race leader was given a one-second stop and go penalty. Koebolt wasn’t aware of the penalty of the car in front of him and attacked the McLaren, just when it pulled into the pits.
Just ten minutes from the end Daniel Rymes went off into the gravel trap, triggering a second safety car. Seven minutes later the race was restarted. Koebolt made no mistake and kept Las Moras Racing driver Luc Braams and RYS Team Schönramer / Racecom’s Achim Mörtl behind. After 27 laps Koebolt crossed the line to take Ekris Motorsport’s first win of the season and the team’s first ever Silver Cup victory. Braams and Huisman claimed the Pro-AM win by finishing second overall, with Mörtl winning the AM class in third overall.
Lennart Marioneck and Gottfried Pilz claimed fourth overall and second in the Silver Cup with their #34 RYS Team Kiska KTM X-Bow GT4, ahead of Reiter Young Stars team mates Laura Kraihamer and Cedric Freiburghaus in the RYS Team True Racing KTM X-Bow GT4.
The #22 Allied-Racing Porsche Cayman CS MR GT4 of Timothy Stupple and Jan Kasperlik was handed a 30-second time penalty in exchange of a drive through, while the #33 Bullitt Racing McLaren 570S GT4 failed post-race inspection and was excluded from the results. As a result the Scuderia Villorba Corse Maserati GranTurismo MC GT4 of Piotr and Antoni Chodzen inherited second place, ahead of the Allied-Racing Porsche.
Eduard Anton finished second in the AM class with the Sofia Car Motorsport by BADI Sin R1 GT4, behind class winner Mörtl. The Romanian driver finished almost six seconds clear of Scuderia Villorba Corse’s Manuela Gostner, who on her turn beat team mate Giuseppe Fascicolo by just one tenth of a second on the line.
Ricardo van der Ende (#8 Ekris Motorsport Ekris M4 GT4): “This is really unique! Ekris Motorsport has developed this car and it took us a while to get it to where we are now, but it was a pleasure to drive it. We did what we had to do, others made mistakes and as a result we are back on top. I then handed the car to Max and he was sublime.”
Max Koebolt (#8 Ekris Motorsport Ekris M4 GT4): “I saw the McLaren in front of me. They are super-fast, so it was hard to pass them on the straights. I tried to force him into a mistake and wasn’t aware he had to come in. In the last corner I think I managed it and he nearly went into the pits drifting. After that I was able to maintain the lead and I decided not to push. I was awake at the restart and didn’t do any silly things.”
Dick van Ekris (Team manager, Ekris Motorsport): “I am extremely happy with this victory. I really didn’t expect this and would have been happy with third place. For me personally, I am satisfied with the fact that my drivers are happy with the car. You build a car, you develop it in a year-and-a-half and I am really happy to hear Ricardo telling me he has never had such a great car.”
Duncan Huisman (#9 Las Moras Racing McLaren 570S GT4): “It was a great race. After the mishaps we had at Misano and Brands Hatch we finally made it onto the podium. Right from the start we did everything well and now we can go to the podium. We finished second overall, first in class and I had a great stint. We really wanted to get onto the podium as the last time was in Pau with the Camaro, so it was about time!”
Luc Braams (#9 Las Moras Racing McLaren 570S GT4): “Duncan really did well and I just had to finish it. We did have a nice advantage over the cars behind us, but they were unable to get us anyways. This circuit really suits our car. I’m really happy!”
Achim Mörtl (#94 RYS Team Schönramer/Racecom KTM X-Bow GT4): “It was good to start from the front where there was some fighting. At the end of the day to be the best KTM driver and winning the AM class on my third race on a circuit is fantastic. It is a really nice series, really nice to drive and I hope I can drive again.”
Source. SRO Motorsports Group